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Eagles zone reads keep Dallas off balance

11/27/2014
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There’s something about Thanksgiving that brings the best out of the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles are now 6-0 on Thanksgiving, the best record in NFL history for any team to play at least five Thanksgiving games.

The Eagles got it done on the ground with a season-high 256 rushing yards, easily the most the Dallas Cowboys have allowed in a game this season.

LeSean McCoy led the way with 159 rushing yards, including a rushing touchdown in consecutive games for the first time since 2011.

On the other side, the Cowboys -- who entered the week ranked second in rushing yards -- struggled running the ball against an Eagles rush defense that ranked in the middle of the pack.

The Cowboys were held under 100 rushing yards for just the second time this season (as was DeMarco Murray, who had a season-low 73 rushing yards). The Cowboys are 0-2 this season when they have fewer than 100 rushing yards and 8-2 when they reach 100.

Murray had just 20 carries against the Eagles, just one more than his season low. When Murray has at least 24 rushes this season, the Cowboys are 7-0. When he has fewer than 24, they’re now 1-4 this season.

The Cowboys as a team had 25 rushes. Since Jason Garrett became the Cowboys head coach in 2011, they’re 14-1 when they have 30 or more rushes, 16-13 with 20-29 rushes, and just 2-14 when they run it fewer than 20 times.

Eagles' rush attack

In Mark Sanchez’s first three starts this season, the Eagles ran six zone-read rushes for 34 yards, including none in Week 12.

But on Thursday, the Eagles had 21 zone-read rushes for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Mark Sanchez by Play Type This Season

The strong running attack helped Mark Sanchez on play-action plays. Sanchez was 6-of-9 for 61 yards and threw his only touchdown off play-action fakes, and he didn’t even attempt a non-play-action pass in the second half.

Play action has been vital for Sanchez. The only quarterback this season with a worse touchdown-interception differential on non-play-action passes than Sanchez (-3) is Blake Bortles (-6).

What happened to the Cowboys' offense?

The Cowboys finished with 10 points, their fewest in a game since Week 2 of 2012 at Seattle (27-7 loss) and fewest in a home game since Week 16 of 2011 against the Eagles (20-7 loss).

Tony Romo completed 5 of 10 passes under duress for 60 yards and two interceptions. Romo’s 10 attempts under duress were his most in a game this season. Romo had not thrown an interception under duress since the season-opening loss to the 49ers.

Romo completed 3 of 12 passes with two interceptions on attempts more than 10 yards downfield, his worst completion percentage on such passes this season. Six of his incompletions were off target, including both of his interceptions. Romo’s six off-target throws downfield were his most since Week 12 of 2012 against the Redskins.

Murray had zero rushes of at least 10 yards after having at least two such rushes in each game this season and a league-leading 38 entering the game, six more than any other player this season.